Friday I spent the day with WinShape summer camp photographers training them to get better photographs. We talked about camera settings that we all have on the cameras.
Auto ISO for the quality of Image - We chose to set the camera to the largest JPEG file at the highest quality setting. (The camp did not provide the software for all the computers to use RAW)
We set our cameras to Auto ISO and set our lowest ISO on the camera default preferences of either 50 to 200 ISO. We then set the highest ISO on what the camera is realistically capable of shooting. For most of the cameras this was between ISO 1600 and 6400. Both Canon and Nikon allow setting of the highest shutter speed. We set this according to the situation.
Shutter speeds (Using auto ISO) - The camera will raise the ISO to get the optimum shutter speed and will drop the shutter speed once it hits the maximum ISO.
If shooting under fluorescent or sodium vapor lights we recommended them to shoot at 1/100 shutter speed, unless they had to shoot sports. When shooting sports we recommended setting 1/2000 shutter speed to capture the action.
For general shooting we recommended 1/250 shutter speed.
White Balance - We recommended using a custom White Balance as the primary choice. Our second choice was to use a preset like Fluorescent, Daylight or Tungsten. When we were changing lighting that affects white balance, we recommended using Auto White Balance.
Aperture - For general shooting we recommended not to shoot wide open, but use f/4 or f/5.6 to help keep the subject is in focus. With your subject’s cooperation, we recommended shooting the apertures wide-open, for artistic reasons, i.e. f/1.4 may be more appropriate for a shallow depth of field.
We’ve notice many photographers using their 50mm f/1.4 lenses wide-open, with very few in focus pictures due to the shallow depth-of-field. One must take an extra moment to critical focus wide-open.
Flash outside in Daylight - If it’s the middle of the day and the sun is straight up, you’re most likely getting dark circles around the eyes. I call this the raccoon eye look. If you are less than 10 feet away from the subject you can use a built in flash or hot shoe flash to fill in those shadows.
In addition to filling in the shadows, a nice catch light will show up in the eyes. You can also use the flash when you backlight a subject. This helps them not to squint when looking directly into the sun. Since the shadow side of the face is now towards the camera, a flash would help balance the light.
Some of the camp shooters are photography students or recent graduates of photo programs, but not all the photographers were photo majors. Due to the range of talent, we tried to show everyone techniques that would help get more photos in focus, that are properly exposed, and would produce good skin tones.
During the last part of the day, we spent time practicing, shooting, looking for photos that tell a story. As we closed, we reviewed everyone's best five photos. A good shoot was had by all.